The Power Went Out And I Couldn’t Write a Post

Hi Everybody.

Well, the power went out for Ol’ Jarhead Survivor on Sunday and the post I started for today didn’t get finished.

But I learned a lot of things this weekend about my SHTF plan for when the power goes out.  I’ll write up an after action report for Friday and let you know the major holes and what I’m going to do to fix them, but for now here’s one glaring error that I didn’t catch with all my planning.  My generator won’t run the pellet stove!!!!!

I had a back up plan for staying warm of course, but that was a huge hole I didn’t see before.  (It’s a new generator.)

For today I’d like to hear from you.  If you’re in the same boat let me know how your SHTF power plans are working out.  How’s your food?  Water?  Family morale?

Or if you’d like to comment about your plans in the past – for any event – not working out, what was it and how did you fix it?

Let me hear from you, People!

-Jarhead Survivor

BTW – Happy Halloween!

28 comments… add one
  • Had Enough October 31, 2011, 9:01 am

    Ct. We’re into our 3rd day without electric. We have a wood stove and coal stove that we cook on and use both for warmth. Our generator keeps our two chest freezer cold and we use the outdoors as our refrigerator. Our huge lobster pot sits on the coal stove and I use it to wash dishes, sponge bath by pouring water into the bathroom sink, and whatever else we need hot water for. Believe me, the coal stove makes the water VERY hot. Today we need to clear the property of all the fallen boughs that cracked off during the storm on Saturday. My husband has a gas powered chain saw and I will use the branch loppers (that’s what I call them) to chop up the smaller limbs. We have plenty of candles, LED Coleman lamp, battery powered radio and lots of batteries. We’re doing well. Hope you are too. Mrs. Had Enough

    • Jarhead Survivor October 31, 2011, 9:12 am

      Hang tough, Mrs Had Enough! Sounds like you’re in much better shape than a lot of other people out there and I commend your excellent preps.

      Keeping my fingers crossed for the return of your power.

    • Odd Questioner October 31, 2011, 10:22 am

      I guess I’m pretty lucky. I haven’t turned any heaters on, or did anything with the fireplace, since around March. This is because the temps haven’t dropped enough yet to warrant doing so (even the night time temps, low as they are now, aren’t really that low).

      It’s been much cheaper to just throw on a small blanket when loafing around the house. :)

  • Spook45 October 31, 2011, 9:06 am

    DOH!! Better check that gennie!

  • Jarhead Survivor October 31, 2011, 9:13 am

    It’s practically brand new and more powerful than my last one! I think it must be the generator part of it. Some of them don’t make electricity smooth enough to run all appliances. Apparently mine falls into that category.

    • Jason November 1, 2011, 11:36 am

      I don’t know anything about pellet stove heaters but assume it’s a fan or fans that require power, right?

      You may look into a smaller (electric) demanding fan to use in these type of no power situations & crack open a window in the opposite side of the house to create a draw. If the fan is easily accessable, it could be a 10 minute job for the change out.

      That’s my 2 cents ~

      • Jarhead Survivor November 2, 2011, 9:12 am

        It does use a built in fan, but it also has an auger that feeds the pellets into the burn pot. Basically, without electricity it’s useless.

  • Twelvetoe October 31, 2011, 9:51 am

    I had a similar problem with my generator. I solved it by switching off the idle control that revs the engine speed up and down based on electrical load. Unfortunately the result is that the generator runs at full speed and full noise and the fuel is used up much more quickly. Not exactly the smartest use of fuel but fortunately it was only temporary.

    • Jarhead Survivor October 31, 2011, 10:19 am

      Would that cause excessive wear and tear on the generator as well? Man, that beast already burns through gas pretty quickly as is!

      • irishdutchuncle October 31, 2011, 11:28 am

        in order to provide 60 cycle power, the generator has to maintain 3600 rpm, under load.

        Tracy at the “possum living” blog seems pretty knowledgable about generators. it’s worth looking there, once in a while.

      • Twelvetoe October 31, 2011, 8:59 pm

        Yes it would. It basically pegs the generator at redline. You get smoother power but the tradeoff is increased wear and tear, increased fuel consumption and ambient noise set at “11”. ( To quote Spinal Tap.)

  • irishdutchuncle October 31, 2011, 9:57 am

    bummer. at least you found out about it, before the dead of winter. (october instead of february) if you have a modern gas range, you may need to have electric power to operate the oven too. (no pilot light)
    it would be good to know beforehand that your generator will do that job too. (…and run the well pump, the furnace blower, the oil burner, the air conditioner, the microwave, and the freezer)

    • irishdutchuncle October 31, 2011, 10:38 am

      as to the past plans, which didn’t quite work out…

      it’s time for my regular winter preparedness rant. people repeat and repeat the same bad advice: cat litter, for winter traction. i bought it. i tried it. it didn’t work worth a darn. cat litter is made from mud. if the ice you’re stuck on is the slightest bit wet, the cat litter turns back into mud. forget the cat litter, unless you’re going to the rescue of someone with a cat.

      sand is what you need for traction on wet ice.

    • Jarhead Survivor October 31, 2011, 11:11 am

      That’s exactly what I thought too Irish. Better to find out now than later when it really matters. Now I can make plans to fix it!

  • mountainspirit October 31, 2011, 10:23 am

    Our family is keeping all ya’ll out east in our prayers. May this unfortunate event pass quickly, and may all ya’ll stay safe.

    God Bless.

  • sput October 31, 2011, 11:22 am

    Lost power, kept the place at a mellow 62 with alternative heat, went to bed. No sweat, just used a mini stove for some hot drinks. Was many days from even thinking about using preps. Heard some gennies going, but most neighbors are going to be screwed if this happens in the dead of winter. Enjoyed the stars more without the light pollution.

  • Novice October 31, 2011, 4:40 pm

    Wait, are you telling me that the author of a prep sight couldn’t post an article because he wasn’t prepared for a power outage? I’m just giving you a hard time but, that’s funny right there.

    • Jarhead Survivor October 31, 2011, 8:50 pm

      I know!! I feel like that dream where I’m in front of the class with no clothes on. How embarrassing!

      • Jason November 1, 2011, 11:41 am

        Isn’t the Emperor with no clothes more aprapos?!

  • CanukATC October 31, 2011, 10:09 pm

    Jarhead, I’m really blessed by lots of your articles but I’ve never really figured out why preppers even go near pellets. Any thing you need power for, where a no-power alternative is avail should be dumped, IMHO. Tons of folk have the pellet stoves up here in Canada and they’re hooped in an outage. In a real SHTF situation, even the most prepared person is euchered when the gas runs out. And that’ll be faster than one thinks. I guess in theory you could make a hand crank for the pellets, but what happens when there’s no more pellets? Boat anchor, sadly. Go for wood. It’s everywhere and you don’t need electricity. Simple.

    • Jarhead Survivor November 1, 2011, 8:04 am

      Canuk, I couldn’t agree with you more. The stove was there when we moved in. Here’s my dilemma – Mrs Jarhead gets a little freaked out by pellet/wood stoves because she never had one growing up. The pellet stove was a big step for and now she really likes it; however, a wood stove scares her and she doesn’t like the fact that they’re “dirty.” I keep running the idea by her and at some point I hope she picks up on it and agrees to a woodstove. I have one in the sauna and enough stove pipe that I could rig it up in the house if I had, but until that SHTF moment actually comes I just might be stuck with a pellet stove.

      Don’t get me wrong. They’re great stoves, but as you point out once the power goes out and the gasoline is gone, so is your heat.

  • T.R. November 1, 2011, 12:54 am

    Yep , you live in Maine ;)

  • The Duck November 1, 2011, 8:08 am

    After “Dry” Hurricane Ike went through, I had a Bryant 12Kw propane generator installed (I heat with propane and have 1000 gal tank) it works great

  • highdesertlivin November 1, 2011, 8:19 am

    Dont forget , your also dependent on pellets .

  • Shane Vandrell November 1, 2011, 8:57 am

    As far as I do have keeping warm I do have a small wood burner. But I don’t want to use that only. I wanna share this with you all. Please stay with me. Buy a Fire pit (40.00) or small grill for (20.00) at Wal-mart, or anything else you can find to work. Buy rubbing alcohol, 91% if you can get it. Put 2-3 oz. in an empty tuna can or whatever works for you. Then light it with a match. I’m not crazy…I’m not. Just ahead of the curve. It burns fast, but warm and clean! 2-3 oz will burn about 30min. That is 30 min. of heat and light for almost nothing! Oh and only burn it 2-3 oz at a time it will last longer. A 91% 32oz bottle will get you through a day or 2!

    • irishdutchuncle November 1, 2011, 10:05 am

      i hear what you’re saying, but the tuna can isn’t working for me. (however, two of them together, might. read-up on “pepsi can” stoves, and “penny” stoves)
      HEET, or denatured alcohol will do a better job than the rubbing alcohol, while they’re available.

      a roll of toilet paper, set in a coffee can has also been suggested as an effective rubbing alcohol burner.

  • Mrs. Had Enough November 1, 2011, 10:37 am

    Hi everyone We’re still without power here in Ct. I forgot to mention earlier that my husband and I live in a house that was built in 1740. We have 3 fireplaces, two that I mentioned have a coal stove and a wood stove. We stored up plenty of wood from a big tree we cut down this summer. Hubby is great with an axe and chain saw, so that wood was all dry and stored in the basement. The attic is a large pantry. It’s cold now and we also use it as a root cellar. We got butternut and squash on sale, plus we had a large veggie garden. Coal is cheap, and fortunately we just got a ton delivered before the storm hit. Homes around us are dipping down to temps. in the 40’s. Our closest neighbors spent the night with us and plan on staying until until this ends which is predicted to be 8 to 10 days. I’ve never seen a blizzard before Halloween and this took everyone by surprise. The electric company is overwhelmed and outages are near 100% everywhere in northern Ct. Be well everyone, our best friend, God, is watching over us all.

  • Steve November 1, 2011, 8:03 pm

    I took the same approach as “The Duck”. Installed a 8 kW propane generator from Lowes that is fully automatic with 280 gallons of propane that will last a couple of weeks of continuous use (still running after 4 days w/o power in NH). Runs everything but the dryer and range (including the pellet stove) -best prep I ever invested in. When the power comes on it automatically shuts off and transfers power back – gotta love technology.

    Also want to mention that I also have a wood stove for back-up, but the pellet stove is so much easier (bag in the morning and one at night). With 5 tons of pellets in the basement I’m good until spring.


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